Microsoft is reportedly about to acquire Obsidian Entertainment

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Midwayman

Diamond Member
Jan 28, 2000
5,723
325
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Can cRPG's be made to work on consoles? Just about, but "RTwP" (Baldur's Gate style) gameplay is nowhere near as natural on a controller as a K&M or popular on consoles as actiony RPG's. So they'll probably be asking Obsidian to change genre (cRPG to ARPG / MMO). How that will work out (and what happens to Obsidian if it doesn't) is anybody's guess.
This is it exactly. They will be asked to make a controller as primary control RPG in an xbox first strategy. That means multiple part members is tough. That means direct selection of where you want to go is tough. It will result in either a turn based grid style combat (which I'd be okay with, but is very niche) or they'd make it about a single character that you directly control in the aRPG market. I mean there is a reason aRPGs rule on the console. It just makes sense for the control scheme available. I suppose you could go jRPG menu style, but that's not what obsidian does. I think the best we can hope for is something with the depth of the witcher.
 

quikah

Diamond Member
Apr 7, 2003
3,847
520
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Rare was their own fault. Rare management decided to focus on Kinect, it was not a mandate from MS. Lionhead, again their own fault, years of useless projects that never amounted to anything. I am not sure what happened to Ensemble. Bungie didn't want to do Halo anymore and MS let them go do whatever they wanted.

There is keyboard/mouse support coming to Xbox, but they are not shy about making PC only releases, they announced Gears tactics at E3, PC only for now. Obsidian has made more than just PoE you know. Fallout NV, Stick of Truth, KotoR2, Alpha Protocol, all are or would be fine with controllers. Besides, from the Chris Avellone interviews I have seen Obsidian management is a bit of a mess (understatement?), they could use some actual help there.
 

ArenCordial

Senior member
Sep 18, 2012
214
15
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Besides, from the Chris Avellone interviews I have seen Obsidian management is a bit of a mess (understatement?), they could use some actual help there.
Yeah Avellone's statements about what was going on with Obsidian upper management were pretty damning. Its also been clear for a long time that Fergus has wanted to sell out.

That being said I still think this is overall bad news for RPGs fans. While I seriously doubt Obsidian had the talent left to make something comparable to another New Vegas since all the main writers of the game left the company, they still managed to make decent RPGs. I wouldn't be surprised if Sawyer leaves after the buy out. He's basically been keeping himself busy and spending a lot of time out of the office after Deadfire launched.
 

GoodRevrnd

Diamond Member
Dec 27, 2001
6,803
581
126
That's interesting. Isn't Fergus supposedly more deeply involved w/ some of the other Obsidian titans from Interplay/BI/Troika days on some significant unannounced project? And what management exactly is a mess? Isn't that basically Fergus? Not that claims like this would surprise me, this studio and it's progenitors seems like it's always been full of talent and lacking in structured management to execute cleanly.
 

ArenCordial

Senior member
Sep 18, 2012
214
15
81
The unannounced project is supposedly called Outer Worlds and its got Leo B. and Tim Cain from Troika heading up that project. Last I knew its supposed to be for Take2 but Obsidian owns the IP.

As for the management issues. Well Chris Avellone said a lot. I don't remember all the nitty gritty details only a couple of things. Supposedly nepotism is rife over a Obsidian. One of the owners wife, was hired to be the head of HR and in Chris words was one of the biggest offenders of sexual harassment in the company giving people who were experiences such issues no place to go except leave or lawyer up. Fergus tried to get his kids (and I mean not yet teenagers) salaried positions and the only reason they aren't on the payroll is because of child labor laws which the other owners had to bring up. Supposedly his wife is drawing a paycheck though despite not working there. Also when the company almost closed a couple years ago employees kept the door open by no taking paychecks until Obsidian got their feet back under them, Chris claims that Fergus was refusing to pay employees back until Chris and another owner made an issue out of it.

When Avellone left only because Fergus somehow deownered him (I assume with a majority vote of the owners) but offered Chris a lump sum if he signed a NDA about his time at Obsidian and a noncompete agreement preventing him from working in the gaming industry again. Fergus knew Avellone was in debt because he was paying for his sick mother's health care and was trying to leverage that to keep Avellone quiet and get him out of the gaming industry. Chris told him to f-off and that's why you see him everywhere freelancing.

This sums it up better than I can.
https://www.reddit.com/r/Games/comments/8h57zx/chris_avellone_criticizes_obsidians_upper/
 

Artorias

Golden Member
Feb 8, 2014
1,959
1,241
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How did Obsidian ever manage to do NV, anyway? Was there still some un-expired IP arrangement/licensing that existed at that time, and they were able to push out NV in time?
That's a really good question, Chris Avellone or someone in upper management must of had some great pull with Bethesda or Zenimax, I don't see why you let another studio try to build on your brand, or upstage you.

I guess this acquisition doesn't matter a whole lot as most of the main people at Obsidian already left.

Who knows maybe Microsoft proves everyone wrong? Though I can just see corporate try to push all their games on their store and ruining the good will Obsidian built up.
 

BFG10K

Lifer
Aug 14, 2000
22,117
1,323
126
Who knows maybe Microsoft proves everyone wrong?
Not a chance. Look at the consistent failures every time they try to "innovate":
  • Vista, Windows 8, WinRT, DirectX12, GFWL, Nokia purchase, ribbon UI, Zune marketplace DRM'd music.
Removing the Start Menu is the equivalent of removing Bash from Linux, yet Microsoft still tried that "innovation".

They lost $billions trying to get into mobile space and still continue to push Win10/UWP, trying to lock down PCs like cellphones and piping everything through Cortana telemetry, Onedrive and the metrosexual app store.. The app store is such a failure that developers themselves recommend people moving off it.

Windows 10/UWP is also a failure. The only reason it has market share is because they're closing all other upgrade paths. They're still shipping an OS whose UI looks worse than 1980s GUIs, and a calculator that takes half the screen, takes multiple seconds to start, and can't even add properly. Now they're adding Bing to Notepad. Another "innovation". Meanwhile they're silently deleting user files.

Windows 7 will be the last good thing Microsoft ever does, and Visual Studio, assuming they don't eventually ruin it. Visual Studio can still build XP applications and doesn't have the metrosexual ribbon UI.
 
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PrincessFrosty

Platinum Member
Feb 13, 2008
2,301
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www.frostyhacks.blogspot.com
It's sad that we all immediately know this is the death of good games from Obsidian. It means that this cycle is so real and so permanent that you can predict what is going to happen next.

All we can really do is keep an eye out for where the employees go when they leave obsidian, look out for startup indie/small studios and then make noise about whatever it is they're doing next, crowdfunding a new title or whatever. It's a painful cycle for everyone involved but it's not the end, I actually kickstarted the original PoE with a full copy, it's about making smart plays with crowdfunding based on the people/minds behind the idea.
 

PrincessFrosty

Platinum Member
Feb 13, 2008
2,301
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www.frostyhacks.blogspot.com
Not a chance. Look at the consistent failures every time they try to "innovate":
  • Vista, Windows 8, WinRT, DirectX12, GFWL, Nokia purchase, ribbon UI, Zune marketplace DRM'd music.
Removing the Start Menu is the equivalent of removing Bash from Linux, yet Microsoft still tried that "innovation".
Not to mention Skype, holy hell that's a mess. You can't even open multiple conversations with people, technology moving backwards. I stuck to the old Skype 7.0 or whatever it was but then somoene found an 0 day in the advert system and started doing RCE through it to launch popups in chrome so was forced to upgrade. And the Xbone as well, utterly thrashed by the PS4. Microsoft kill absolutely everything they touch.
 
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BSim500

Golden Member
Jun 5, 2013
1,480
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It's sad that we all immediately know this is the death of good games from Obsidian. It means that this cycle is so real and so permanent that you can predict what is going to happen next. All we can really do is keep an eye out for where the employees go when they leave obsidian, look out for startup indie/small studios and then make noise about whatever it is they're doing next, crowdfunding a new title or whatever. It's a painful cycle for everyone involved but it's not the end, I actually kickstarted the original PoE with a full copy, it's about making smart plays with crowdfunding based on the people/minds behind the idea.
^ This x1000. Much of what makes games great isn't the studio label on the box but rather individual key design personnel who simply happen to be employed there at the time. Eg, Torchlight's Diablo-ish vibe was due to Runic founders being Max & Erich Schaefer (creators of Diablo). Bioshock had that strong SS2-vibe due to Ken Levine. Aside from Harvey Smith, Dishonored also had former Looking Glass Thief 1-2 designer Terri Brosius and ended up with a great "old school" Thief / Steampunk like vibe (and even a Thief 1 Easter Egg) whilst simultaneously the HL2-like "Tallboy" enemies were due to Viktor Antonov (HL2 art designer). The reason DAO felt very different to consolized trash like DA2 despite only 2 years apart is because key personnel like Brent Knowles & James Ohlen (BG through to DAO designers) left Bioware in 2009. In fact, Knowles left precisely because "I feel that party control and tactical combats should be huge factors in a role playing game. I left DA2 because it made me realize that I would not be satisfied with what it would be". Modern Bioware is now an empty 'formulaic' EA shell.

When a game really "clicks" with you with a distinctly likeable "feel" or style of play that you want more of in the future, then you have to follow the individual talent of key designers themselves rather than the studio acquisitions. If a new "MS-Obsidian" game flops (due to "too much MS") then keep an eye out for where departing key design Obsidian staff end up indeed...
 
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DeathReborn

Platinum Member
Oct 11, 2005
2,571
530
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You'd think the people who work at Obsidian will have seen what happens to developers swallowed by behemoths like EA & Microsoft and jump ship asap. I will try and keep an eye out for those who do jump and start up a indie developer or join another indie project and throw some money their way.
 

quikah

Diamond Member
Apr 7, 2003
3,847
520
126
You'd think the people who work at Obsidian will have seen what happens to developers swallowed by behemoths like EA & Microsoft and jump ship asap. I will try and keep an eye out for those who do jump and start up a indie developer or join another indie project and throw some money their way.
Yeah, it must be terrible to have a stable job. Much better to be on the brink of bankruptcy every year. It gets the creative juices flowing.
 
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ArenCordial

Senior member
Sep 18, 2012
214
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Kind of surprised by the InXile buy. Obsidian makes sense as they have plenty of experience with AAA development and smaller scale. InXile though? They make very niche games and frankly their best games I'd put as average at best. Not sure what the plan would be for them in Microsoft's umbrella. Brian Fargo and Fergus got to be happy though, they finally had their big pay day.
 

Borealis7

Platinum Member
Oct 19, 2006
2,904
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what would happen to Wasteland 3 now? it was a crowd-funded game on the Fig platform. so Microsoft is a crowd-funded company now? lol.
do the backers have a right to pull their money now?
 

rivethead

Platinum Member
Jan 16, 2005
2,635
106
106
what would happen to Wasteland 3 now? it was a crowd-funded game on the Fig platform. so Microsoft is a crowd-funded company now? lol.
do the backers have a right to pull their money now?
According to InXile's twitter account, WL3 will still be released as planned and promised to FIG backers.....including on Steam and GoG. After that.......who knows.
 

ImpulsE69

Lifer
Jan 8, 2010
14,946
1,077
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Is there anything MS has bought that actually turned out good? It seems like everything basically goes to crap or just disappears. I have zero faith in them. RIP.
 

GoodRevrnd

Diamond Member
Dec 27, 2001
6,803
581
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I have a hard time believing they wouldn't combine those two studios. Makes no sense to keep them separate.
 

SMOGZINN

Lifer
Jun 17, 2005
13,912
4,004
136
I have a hard time believing they wouldn't combine those two studios. Makes no sense to keep them separate.
Makes no sense to combine them. There is only two things of value in these companies that makes it worth buying, their IPs and their brand recognition. Microsoft is not going to devalue the brand by combining them. They will still want them each working on their own projects, with MS acting as management over both of them.
 

GodisanAtheist

Diamond Member
Nov 16, 2006
4,666
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Obsidian makes 90/100 games on shoestring budgets and rushed schedules. I wouldnt be surprised at all if half or more of the staff there are suffering from chronic stress disorders.

It would be faciniting to see what kind of a game they put out with Microsoft Money, even if the schedules remain tight (which they might not, the new corporate philosophy seems to be let the devs have a couple playground games, then fold em once they release a stinker or two).

Inexile... Meh. Give the Wasteland property to Obsidian and shut em down.

Honestly my worst fear at this point is they'll push some god awful Microsoft Store Exclusive garbage with any games that are released.
 

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